Zappa breaks out new 'Dynamo Hum-dingers'

By Robin E. Pond

The Lantern, October 7, 1977


Zappa bombarded his sell-out crowd Wednesday night at Veteran's Memorial with thirteen new tunes and four oldies. [1]

The predominantly male audience was restless during the first set, wandering up and down the aisles, but did tune in when Zappa played "Flakes" – a song, Zappa said, "about incompetents that don't ever do what you want them to do. California has the most of them." It looked as though the audience had a lot of them, too.

The first set also included two previous releases which the audience immediately recognized, "Peaches En Regalia" and "The Torture Never Stops".

"City of Tiny Lights" was too long, featuring bass, drums and keyboard solos.

Even though Zappa does excel as a guitar player and composer, a lot of credit has to go to his entire band and especially to percussionist Ed Mann. Mann is responsible for all the different sound effects which are dear to Zappa's heart.

None of these musicians date back to Zappa's early efforts with his band the Mothers of Invention, but very few musicians have ever lasted long with Zappa. The Mothers were a constantly changing commodity, as is Zappa's music.

"There's a big dilemma about my big legged Emma," started out Zappa's second set. About this time, Zappa was starting to loosen up and so was the audience, even though security was pretty tight.

"Titties and Beer", proved to Zappa's die-hard fans that he was still "King of Gross Lyrics and Gestures". This song was a conversation between the devil and Zappa, a titties and beer man. The devil wanted Zappa to join his sect but Zappa refused, saying he only believed in the basics – titties and beer.

Zappa's gestures weren't obscene, just a little rear to the audience here and a little finger movement in various places there. The audience was pleased.

Although Zappa's lyrics and on-stage hijinx tend to conjure up an image of Zappa as a drug-crazed loonie, quite the opposite is the case. Zappa is a crazed loonie, but not on drugs. Any insanity in Zappa's style and music is authentic, not artificially induced, for he is strongly against the use of drugs.

At one point Zappa went so far as to make a radio commercial in which he warned: "If you do too much speed, you might end up like your parents."

Zappa rounded out his last set with "Love is for Assholes " and "Punky Whips" – a song about an "atomic homo" who claims "I ain't gay."

The encore consisted of his big hit single "Dynamo Hum " and a new tune, "Camarillo Brillo."

His sound stage consisted of two sets of keyboards, played by Tommy Mars and Peter Wolf, Terry Bozzio on drums, Patrick O'Hearn on bass, Ed Mann on percussion, Adrian Belew and Frank on guitar.

The intricate sound stage was the reason Zappa requested that McGuffey Lane not play back up.

1. Concert in October 5, 1977, in Columbus, Ohio, as a part of "Sheik Yerbouti tour". There is no circulating recording of this concert and exact setlist is not known.

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